International Women's Day - Sentencing and beyond: Women in Prison and access to Mother & Baby Units

Thursday 9 March 2017, 6:30pm - 8:00pm

Garden Court Chambers

Date: Thursday 9 March 2017
Time: 6:30pm - 8:00pm
Venue: Garden Court Chambers, 57-60 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2A 3LJ  
Areas of Law: Civil Liberties and Human Rights , Prisoners’ Rights

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The members of Garden Court Chambers are holding a variety of events to mark International Women’s Day. The theme this year is ‘Be bold for change’ and we are holding events celebrating women supporting other women and featuring the trailblazers who do fantastic work in the areas in which we are focusing.

This event will launch the findings of Maya Sikand’s recent research, ‘Lost Spaces’, sponsored by The Griffins Society with the University of Cambridge, Institute of Criminology. The research looks at whether there is fair access to prison Mother and Baby Units for pregnant women. Speakers will address key and overlapping themes on the overall treatment of women in the criminal justice system, and, in particular, sentencing issues. We hope to bring together leading thinkers and reformers working in the arena of women in custody, as well as those working in government and in sentencing.

The speakers will examine whether sentencers and advocates are sufficiently aware of gender-specific issues, as well as their duties under the Bangkok Rules and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. They will also discuss whether Sentencing Guidelines sufficiently take into account gender-specific issues and debate why there is a high usage of short custodial sentences upon women and the impact such sentences have.

We hope to leave plenty of time for discussion with and questions from delegates, so do come armed with ideas of how we can 'be bold for change' in this area of law and policy.


Maya Sikand, Barrister at Garden Court Chambers. Head of the Garden Court Chambers' Civil Liberties Team, Maya practises in public law and human rights, primarily focusing on holding public authorities to account through civil and statutory damages claims, inquest and inquiry work and judicial review. Maya has recently undertaken a Research Fellowship with The Griffins Society, in conjunction with the University of Cambridge, into access to prison Mother and Baby Units.

Paramjit Ahluwalia, Barrister at Garden Court Chambers. Paramjit is a criminal defence practitioner with a particularly strong reputation in relation to the representation of the most vulnerable in society including women, migrants, youths and individuals affected by mental health issues. She is a trustee of the charity Women in Prison.

Linda Pizani Williams, Chair of The Griffins Society. Linda's work involves assisting in selecting the research proposals submitted by practitioners working with women and girls involved, or at risk of being involved, with the criminal justice system. Once selected, the whole board supports the work of the Fellows by following progress of the research and, when appropriate, making suggestions about alternative avenues to explore. She has worked as a Probation Officer in a women’s prison and extensively across Europe with criminal justice projects, many of which focussed on female offenders and prisoners.

Lucy Baldwin, Senior Lecturer in Community and Criminal Justice at De Montfort University


This event is invitation-only. However, if you are interested in attending, please email


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